By Meg Fair
Pittsburgh Current Managing Editor
Have you ever seen an art show on a boat before? Local production company and entertainment treasure trove, Steel City Kitty, is celebrating its ninth year of variety shows on the Gateway Clipper. The party will feature burlesque and boylesque performances, drag, dancers, contortion and sideshow treats, in the intimate atmosphere of a boat.
When guests arrive, Steel City Kitty’s matron and performer Kat De Lac will greet each and every guest with a thank you and a drink as they enter the boat.
“It’s so important for people to say thank you to every person that’s come to their events,” says Kat De Lac. “Every time I’ve been to a show where the host and cast comes out and mingles, that’s my kind of show.
“We want everyone to have fun to party, to get along, we book the party girls, the party boys, the party people. You get to see them, you get to be a part of it, and you get to watch cool shit.”
Before Kat de Lac was throwing big parties on boats, she was booking variety shows at the Lava Lounge, where she worked at the time. What began with sold-out shows at the Lava Lounge grew into performances at the Rex Theater and the Mattress Factory. The goal is to not only showcase local talent but to bring unique, talented performers from a variety of realms, from all over the country to the Steel City. For the boat party, Roxi D’Lite from Detroit will be performing. D’Lite is a bold performer who won the prestigious and coveted title of Miss Exotic World in 2010. The Burlypicks 2017 world champion Indy Fire, from Denver, will also be performing.
As far as Steel City Kitty goes, Kat De Lac says the only place to go is up: bigger, badder, weirder, wilder.
“I don’t want to do anything that’s half-assed, especially this far in,” says Kat De Lac. “I’ve worked so hard to keep getting bigger and better. I could sit in one place for a while and just coast comfortably, and as a business person I’m probably doing it wrong, but as a party girl I want it to be bigger and awesome.”
While there have been gay boat parties before, there’s not been a circus, variety, burlesque etc. show on a boat in town.
“When the Gateway Clipper was first in the the city, there was a river boat that sat across the river from the Clipper that had gambling and burlesque, so this little part of town has a history,” says Kat De Lac. “Let’s revive that ghost.”
Kat De Lac will be performing, as well as boylesque performer Smokin’ McQueen, the other pillar of Steel City Kitty.
“Smokin’ McQueen–that boy is the reason I do everything, the light of my life. He changed my world, he’s my brother and my family, he’s really smart.”
The work that Steel City Kitty does is not unnoticed by performers in Pittsburgh. Gia Fagnelli, who will be performing a duet with Jordan Harris of Austin at the event, points to Steel City Kitty’s ability to get people through the performance art door.
“Steel City Kitty reaches a lot of really cool people who are part of our scene and world, but it also reaches a lot of people who would not see anything like this if they didn’t come to these shows, and we’re really spicing it up for them,” says Fagnelli.
“I want art, I want people to come and make art. If they’re stripping, cool! If it’s drag, cool!” says Kat De Lac. “I’m a performance artist, I’m a person making art, and I want to see people making art.”
Steel City Kitty Boat Party. 7 p.m., Sat. Nov. 9. Gateway Clipper, 350 W. Station Square Drive, South Side. $70-115. www.steelcitykittyshow.com/